Thursday, January 3, 2013

Literary Resolutions

Happy 2013 everyone! Amongst my many other personal resolutions, my professional resolutions involve writing far more posts for the blog this year. I've got a lot of ideas for recurring series of posts and thought I'd start the new year with one of those.

Inspired by my blog crush* Sam Greenspan of 11 Points, I've decided to do some Top 11 lists of my own, and my literary resolutions seemed like an excellent starting point.
The following 11 books are literary classics that somehow I've not read. Most people covered these in various English classes, but due to some weird departmental shuffling in high school and some oddly niche college Literature classes, I missed out on some widely read works. I narrowed the list down to books I felt I actually wanted to read and set them as part of my reading goal for 2013. (The to-read spreadsheet on my computer is up to 982 titles, so I have to narrow my focus into something manageable.) So here they are, in no particular order:

Top 11 Missed Classics I Resolve to Read in 2013

  1. Pride and Prejudice/ Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen – The fact that I have not read these books is one of the major reasons I question how well I'm doing at the whole “being a girl” thing. I've read Emma, I've watched most of the BBC adaptations of her work, but somehow I've never sat down and read these two major works by one of the most important classic female authors. I vow to get through at least one of these.
  2. Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens – Somehow in my Dickens phase in college I missed out on what is considered to be his greatest work. In my defense, I have read The Old Curiosity Shop, so I feel like my lit-nerd cred is still pretty solid.
  3. Any of Mark Twain's novels – Mark Twain is one of my favorite thinkers of the 19th Century, but I've never finished one of his novels. I love his letters, short non-fiction, and random thoughts, but my entire knowledge of Huck Finn comes from a Classics for Kids version I read when I was eight.
  4. Ulysses – James Joyce – This is the one I'm worried about actually finishing since I hated reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. However, Ulysses is referenced in several other books that I love, so I feel obligated to give it a try. It might actually take me all of 2013 to get thorough it.
  5. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck – One of those works of literature I can reference, and fake it enough to sound like I've read it, so I feel like I should end the charade and read the book. 
  6. War & Peace/ Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy – I've read a few of the other big names in Russian literature, but I've missed out on Tolstoy. I'll be happy if I make it through one, both may be pushing it.
  7. Dracula – Bram Stoker – Another one I'm worried about finishing, mostly because I tend not to enjoy epistolary- style novels. Case in point – I love the play and the movie version of Dangerous Liaisons, I do not enjoy the source novel nearly as much. Plus, I read so many other books that involve vampires, I feel I have to read the one that started it all.
  8. Vanity Fair – William Thackeray – This one I'm genuinely looking forward to reading. Becky Sharp has always sounded like a heroine I can get behind and enjoy, this list just gives me the push to make the time to read her story.
  9. Don Quixote – Cervantes – Another one I feel really bad about having missed. I would like to work some aspects of Cervantes and this book into the show I write, so this one is a priority.
  10. King John – Shakespeare – One of the Bard's I haven't read. My main motivation for reading it would be to really throw off a future cast of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), because I will see that play again, and I want to test their improv skills.
  11. The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baron Orczy – Makes the list entirely because it serves as the framework for one of my favorite episodes of Black Adder the Third
That seems like a decent start to my 2013 reading list. I'm hoping to read at least one new book a week, so I just need to pick 41 more to round out the year. I'm also hoping to post here at least once a week, so be sure to check back regularly! 

 *What? That's a thing. Oh, and go read his blog, it's awesome.


  1. I feel smart because I have read BOTH your number ones. Aren't you proud of me? -Jaime

    1. Very proud! I'm still so ashamed that I've missed out on both of them.